Following the announcement from LFC about ticket prices for the forthcoming 2016/17 season, the supporter representatives from the Ticket Working Group would like to comment further on these prices now that they have been published. As we explained yesterday in our release we are extremely disappointed at the prices and the missed opportunity by the club to deal with the issue of ticket prices.
We engaged fully in the last thirteen months to find a solution that benefits all supporters. The clubs proposals do not do that.
We did not disclose the prices yesterday as we agreed a Terms of Reference with the club at the beginning and agreed to keep this information confidential. We feel we have always been the ones giving in this process – time, effort, ideas and patience – particularly latterly as we waited many weeks and months for the club to finalise proposals. Whilst we are not happy with the outcome, we would like to place on record our thanks to those UK based executives of the club who have engaged with us openly and honestly, listened to us and feedback our concerns as we had no direct engagement with the owners. The final decision on these prices was theirs. They should be the ones made to account for them.
We will produce a more detailed account of what has happened, and what hasn’t, throughout this process later on. We want to set out our views on these prices and what they mean for supporters. These are set out below. We have also published copies of the proposals set out below and our proposal.
Firstly, some clarification to the club’s announcement:
- The club were asked to send us a copy of their planned release. They did. With ten minutes notice of it going live. Despite an agreement we would share releases. They sent this to others before ourselves.
- Yes, 64% of Season Ticket Holders will see prices decrease or frozen. The rest go up. At greater increments than the decreases
- 45% of match day tickets see a decrease. The other 55%. Same as above
- Yes there is a £9 ticket. For just three matches a season. 527 of them a game. 1,581 seats out of a possible 878,693 seats a season.
- These local supporter tickets were introduced right at the end of the process, after we asked for reductions to prices overall. This was their only ‘offer’ with no consultation
- There are additional tickets for young supporters, a move we pushed for throughout and welcome. We have fears on the long term sustainability but this move should be applauded.
- ‘13 months of consultation’ is not a true reflection of what took place. We spent 13 months, but we haven’t been consulted, just presented with final plans and proposals.
- The Ticket Working Group is not a sub-group of the Official Supporters Committee. The Ticket Working Group is made up of reps from SOS, Spion Kop 1906 and the Supporters Committee and came about following protests and a request to meet, even acknowledged by John Henry. It has been independent of the Supporters Committee throughout. The club can’t even bring itself to acknowledge the other supporter groups involved.
- The club have announced the highest match day price to be £77. True, in their published prices. However the Tier 1 proposals shown to us, have prices for these. £175 for Category A matches, £100 for Category B and £85 for Category C. There are 834 of these tickets. The revenue for these seats was included in the £39 million target set by the owners.
- The club now say that these tickets are ‘low level hospitality’. For those prices, they should be. But they have been included in discussions on ‘general admission’ prices in all proposals presented. This only changed in very recently, when they changed the name.
- The club haven’t revealed yet what this ‘new’ low level hospitality will include. But in the same tier of prices where a season ticket costs £1,029, these prices are a 124% mark up on average per match.
- If people accept that these seats are now ‘hospitality’, the much talked about redevelopment and seat increase changes. We were told half the new seats would be general admission (approximately 4,000) and the other half hospitality seats. This changes that to nearer 3,000 and 5,000 respectively.
Club Proposals and Our Proposal
Details of the club’s proposals including comparisons to 2015/16 and our proposal to them can be viewed here – Proposals Document
- The club currently generates around £35million from the sale of Season Ticket and Match Day ticket sales. A price freeze would see the club generate £37million in the coming stadium, from the additional general admission seats.
- Instead, the new ticket prices will see the club generate £38.5million/£39million from Season Ticket and Match Day ticket sales alone. £1.5m/£2m extra than the increase from more seats.
- To put this into context, the last published accounts show that match day revenue, as a percentage of the clubs overall revenue, fell due to huge increases in commercial and media revenues. It stood at just 20% – This figure includes ticket sales and hospitality amongst other things.
- The recent Deloitte Football Money League reveals the club revenues in 2014/15 to have grown further, now at £298.1million, the ninth highest in the world. Match day revenue grew 26%, to £57.1million. However we know that revenues from season tickets and match day tickets in this season stood at £35million. Ticket prices is a decreasing percentage of how much the club generates.
- Next season the club will receive an additional £40million due to the increased tv deal. This may rise on performance and the sale of international rights by the Premier League
- Other clubs have announced price freezes.
- This leads us to question whether this additional revenue of £2million, in light of this, is necessary?
Repayment of the Main Stand Loan
- Repayment of the loan from FSG for the construction of the new Main Stand totals £117 million to be repaid over 5/5.5 years. Repayment over the 5.5 year period would see the club repay approximately £21.27 million per year. The club have confirmed that increased hospitality revenues from the Main Stand will exceed this repayment
- We have asked the club if the additional money over and above the repayment could be offset against ticket prices. This was refused.
- We asked the club if, when the loan was repaid, some of the revenues could be set aside for ticket prices. This was refused.
- The increased hospitality and corporate numbers in the ground will have an impact on ticket availability for future cup finals
- In light of the clubs proposals, we produced a final proposal ourselves.
- This would see the club embark on a phased reduction on ticket revenues, starting at £1million from the true £37million target. This has been ignored, with no decency of an answer from the owners. We can assume it is a no.
- The ultimate target would have been to reach £30million, a reduction of £7million, over time. We have received no answer on this from the owners. We can assume it is a no.
- There has been no explanation from the owners or any willingness to compromise.
- The move of just £1million would represent approximately .33% of the clubs latest published revenue.
- Given the expected £40 million cash boost from the tv deal next year, this would be an even smaller percentage.
New Prices & Impact
- The cub have tried to justify the Main Stand prices as them being ‘new seats’ with ‘improved facilities’. Whilst that may be true, try telling that to a supporter who has sat their for years, with the same view but now at an increased cost. They face the prospect of paying up or moving seats.
- The clubs proposal will see many Season Ticket Holders and Match Day Tickets in the Centenary Stand and some in the Anfield Road pay more for the same seat and same facilities.
- Initial plans to remove categorisation were dropped after the intervention of the owners who wanted it as it is similar to their American model. This despite LFC selling out and the owners claiming they appreciated the problems categorisation caused for LFC away supporters.
- The new prices pit supporters against each other. 9,813 Season Ticket Holders will pay more, ranging from 1% to 18% (£6 to £160) based on current equivalent prices. However 17,281 will pay less, ranging from -1% to -8% (-£3 to -£60).
- 10,421 Match Day Tickets will increase in price, ranging from 1% to 124% (£0.51 to £67.05) whilst only 8,732 will pay less, ranging from -1% to -11% (-£0.48 to -£4.75).
- So supporters in some parts of the ground gain whilst others lose out, and Season Ticket Holders are not hit as badly as Members purchasing Match Day Tickets.
- The discounts for Season Ticket Holders has usually averaged 13% in previous seasons. For many, due to the increases in match day tickets, these have now increased significantly. The average is now 27%
- So supporter versus supporter as the club takes significantly from one. gives a bit back to another and keeps the rest.
- There have been suggestions that we must do this, and not pursue reductions, to remain competitive with our rivals.
- It is worth noting that the increase from ticket prices will not see us close the gap on eight place in the Deloitte Football Money League.
- Similarly, implementing the phased reduction on ticket prices would still see us remain in ninth place by some distance. In fact, all tickets could be reduced to £30 and the club would still remain clear of Juventus in tenth.
- Player wages have been cited as an argument for the increases. We would like to point out that the wages to revenue ratio at the club fell in the last accounts from 54% to 52%.
Youth and Locals
- The club have listened and have introduced 1,000 Young Adult Tickets (17-21 year old), which is warmly welcomed. It is disappointing that it has taken so long but we are glad this has been rectified following specific requests. We now await the detail on how the club plans to sells these tickets.
- There is a concern about the sustainability of such an initiative in light of prices. We want and need more youngsters in the ground – for the future of our support and for the atompshere. However what is the clubs long term plan, when these supporters reach 22 and are faced with the prospect of no longer paying reduced prices. This is why not pricing out our passionate support is so crucial.
- Following the presentation of our proposal for phased reductions, the club asked for more time to consider changes. The only change made was for them to create a new Tier, 20, of 527 tickets which are to be made exclusively available to local supporters at a different price point. Again we await more detail on how these will be sold.
- Whilst the club have lead with a headline figure of £9 for some tickets, we would like to point out this is only for category c matches and accounts for 1,581 seats over the course of a season (out of a possible 878,693 seats)